Jason Hydrotherapy Microsilk bathtub. Photo: Jason International

Bathroom Remodeling 2013: Create A Retreat, Go Green, Add Tech

The Triple Threat: Remodeling your bathroom? Bathroom remodeling 2013 calls for creating a retreat, creating an eco-friendly bathroom and adding technology.

Don’t ask what you can do to your bathroom. Ask, “What can it do for me?”

Does it provide an escape from your day-to-day? How about the ability to turn on a shower head or receive an oxygen facial with just the touch of a button? Or, does it have eco-friendly features that save water or reduce heat, in turn, saving you money on your next utility bill? Now you can say, “yes,” to all three.

Homeowners are not only transforming their bathrooms into a replica of that much-needed relaxing spa they visited on their last vacation. Homeowners are also incorporating technology and “green” features into their master baths — in turn creating a more efficient, hygienic, and ultimately enjoyable experience.

Bring the spa home

Drop-in tubs with a granite tub deck found in Quisana’s master bathrooms. Photo: Cory Bergquist.“If you think about some of those memorable spots that you experienced on vacation, those beautiful hotel and resort spas, it’s a timeless and relaxing atmosphere,” says Jeffrey Lake, vice president and national director of architecture and community design for Standard Pacific Homes, the creator of Quisana, a new master-planned community offering all-new architecture in Troon North.

Spa-like bathrooms are so popular, in fact, Ann Lyons of Sun Valley Interiors in Scottsdale has even seen a 20 to 40 percent increase of homeowners opting for a spa-like bath in the last year to year and a half.

“More people are staying home rather than going on vacations and putting their money in their homes, and this is one way they can enjoy this room,” Lyons says. “It also gives the homeowner a great return on their investment.”

Beginning with the tub and shower, spa-like features in the master baths include large showers with his-and-her entries, rain heads and double-headed showers. Some luxury homes, including Quisana, even include a no-step entry into the walk-in showers. As for the tubs, homeowners can consider drop-in tubs with a granite tub deck, also found at Quisana, versus the standard one-piece tub.

Lyons adds that calm colors, proper lighting and an open space for more of an open feel can also help create that spa-like environment. Lake adds, “Plenty of light is preferred in the bathroom as well because when you think about a beautiful spa, you don’t really think about a dark atmosphere; you think about something light and bright.”

As for the sinks, if one were to take a cleaner, more tailored path to the design, Lake suggests vessel sinks. “The look is cleaner, more progressive, the materials themselves are cleaner, and there’s not as much movement from a pattern standpoint.” Materials include natural materials such as tumbled marble, granite and rich woods.

Let’s get technical

Photo: MoenEnhance your experience — and adding a touch of technology can help achieve just that.
“What we’re seeing are clients coming in and wanting to make their house personal to them,” says Jeremy Smith, sales manager at Central Arizona Supply in Scottsdale, “and the technology is something that is already in their life, so therefore isn’t a giant leap like tech in the bathroom once.”

Smith goes on to say that many of the “techy” products aren’t simply replacing manual technology such as pressing a button to turn on your Photo: Moenshower versus turning a lever or knob, they are incorporating technology that didn’t exist before.

“For example, controlling a stereo, aromatherapy and chromatherapy from a touch pad in the shower or an oxygen facial essentially for your body in a bathtub,” Smith says. “These are things that may be saving you trips to get a massage or getting to the gym.”

Smith adds to “buy technology because it has a function that you will enjoy for the life of your home, regardless if there is a future, techier way of doing it.”

Two popular items over the past year? Toto’s Washlet G500, which has an integrated toilet. Its features include a lid that automatically lifts and closes, hands-free flush, adjustable seat temperatures, a warm-air dryer, personal Neorest 550 electronic toilet. Photo: TOTOmemory settings and more. The other, according to Smith, is the Microsilk bathtub from Jason Hydrotherapy, which releases oxygen-rich microbubbles.

“These oxygen bubbles attach to your skin and remove carbon dioxide from under the surface of the skin and makes your skin softer and more robust,” Smith says. “It’s like getting an oxygen facial for your entire body. This is all operated from a floating remote control that can also turn on the whirlpool feature or the chromatherapy or the TV mirror you place in front of the tub.

“What is most exciting about bathrooms today is that we are looking at them as a place to get away from our stresses and start the day right or end the day peacefully,” Smith adds. “Technology in the bathroom can help you do that — or maybe just a good lock on the door.”

An eco-friendly environment

From your faucets to your windows, going green isn’t just great for the environment, it lightens up your wallet — and your bathroom — as well.

Let’s start with the windows. Instead of your typical, single-pane window with a metal frame, consider dual-paned, Low-E windows with a vinyl frame. These dual-frame, Low-E windows trap argon gas between two panes of glass to provide better insulation, and the Low-E coatings decrease emissivity, reducing the radiant heat that comes through the sun’s rays.

According to APS and its Standard Plan, for a typical 2,000-square-foot Phoenix area home without exterior or interior shading, the annual energy cost for a double-pane, Low-E window is about $700. The single-pain, clear metal frame window is about $1,200 a year.

“These windows are much more durable and efficient,” says Steve Troth, vice president of sales and marketing for Standard Pacific Homes. “If (homeowners) wanted to do something on remodeling end, it’s a great place to start.”

Photo: BrizoNext, look at your faucet. At Central Arizona Supply, Smith says one item that has sold consistently is the touch sensor kitchen faucet in the bathroom, specifically Brizo’s Odin Single Handle Lavatory, designed by fashion designer Jason Wu.

“Essentially it is an easy way to save water because just by tapping the faucet it will turn on or off,” Smith says. “Plus, if your hands are full or dirty, it is easy just to tap with your arm or something to turn the faucet off.”

So, which do you prefer? No need to choose just one; incorporate all three trends for that triple-threat lavatory.

For more information about bathroom remodeling, visit the following:

Central Arizona Supply
4750 N. 16th St., Phoenix
(602) 943-3488

Sun Valley Interiors
2716 N. 68th St., Scottsdale
(602) 381-1289

Quisana by Standard Pacific Homes
11029 E. Bent Tree Dr., Scottsdale
(480) 513-3693

Scottsdale Living Magazine Winter 2013